“Although I have painted balls exclusively for more than 25 years, I don’t really care that much about them,” says artist John Gibson, who exhibits his recent paintings of balls during a solo show at Gerald Peters Gallery.
An artist who retired from teaching drawing and painting at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts in 2017, Gibson has been working non-stop in his studio for the past 18 months preparing work for shows around the country.
After experiencing extreme frustration with everything revolving around his exhibit in New York last spring, he cut up much of the show’s work into small pieces. “It was a creative, not a destructive, act,” he adds.
These jigsaw puzzle-like fragments of painted wood have been collaged into his latest paintings on exhibit at Gerald Peters Gallery. Among the interesting challenges of creating this body of work was deciding how much he wanted to let the viewer see the seams between the collage elements and the painting to which they are adhered.
“I had to think about how much I wanted to hide the collage aspect,” he says about these almost sculptural works. “It was tricky. I didn’t want the seams to be too big, or too much visual attention would be on the seams.”
Although Gibson filled in the collage elements’ screw holes, he’s actually pleased that the holes weren’t completely filled and a series of little dots are seen in the works.
“Developing my materials is a way of developing my paintings,” he says.
Gibson explains that the reason he paints balls is because they are the most simple and fundamentally different thing from the flat surface of a painting that he can think of. “I admire their endlessness and mystery,” he says. “I love the way they can stand in for all sorts of unknowns.”